There were so many captivating animal photos taken in 2012 that it's hard to choose the best. In the gallery below, find some of the top animal pictures from our weekly animal photos collection.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Two Houston Zoo cheetahs recently had a chance to stretch their legs on a run, and their stunning speed was caught on camera. "They need about 600 feet," Beth Schaefer, the zoo's curator of primates and carnivores told The Houston Chronicle. "We don't have that straightaway anywhere on zoo grounds." The five-year-old brothers, Kito and Kiburi, were taken to the fenced turf horse racing track at Sam Houston Park and even taken off their leash during the last two visits.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
While chameleons are well-known kings of camouflage, animals of all shapes and sizes are experts at disguising themselves from predators. In his "Vanishing Act" project, photographer Art Wolfe captures animals blending seamlessly into their surroundings.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
The animal kingdom is filled with many strange characteristics and behaviors. Some peculiar attributes, like the hippopotamus' 'blood sweat,' can be explained by adaption, while the causes of other bizarre animal traits remain more of a mystery.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
The warmest month in the Arctic Circle still means temperatures below 50 degrees. But that doesn’t deter about 200 species of Arctic birds from making the northernmost part of the Earth their home for at least part of the year.
Monday, December 24, 2012
As 2012 comes to an end, it's a good time to reflect and remember the most important stories of the year. So let's be honest: wacky, cute and fascinating animal videos stole the show.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Like a pair of Velcro stripper pants, gecko tails come off easy. The lizards have pre-formed score lines in their tail that allow them to quickly rip off their tails when a predator has grabbed it, according to a new study. The gecko tails, which were described Wednesday (Dec. 19) in the journal PLoS One, essentially stick to the body of the animals with adhesive forces.
Friday, December 21, 2012
This is one frog you don't want to meddle with; Just check out the pinchers on this thing! The Japanese Otton frog, Babina subaspera, is one of the only species of frog in the world that possesses retractable claws like a cat. Each of its spines is contained within a sheath and can be pushed out the front of the digit, but not without puncturing the skin. In other words, the frog has to inflict self-harm to use the spines. In this way, the frog might be more aptly compared to the comic book superhero Wolverine than to a cat.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
For indisputable evidence of just how heroic dogs can be, take a look at the team of Golden Retrievers who recently arrived in Newtown to help comfort the victims of Friday's shooting. All through 2012, we've seen countless such examples of heroic pets.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
From bonobos to zebras, zoo babies as a set are pretty adorable. These incredibly cute photos highlight young and newborn animals from zoos around the world.
Friday, December 14, 2012
A new small primate with a toxic bite and distinctive facial fur markings has been discovered in the jungles of Borneo. The new slow loris species is found in the highlands of the island of Borneo and has been named Nycticebus kayan, after a major river, the Kayan, flowing through the region.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Life can be stressful sometimes, and what better way is there to relieve stress than to watch puppies play in the snow? That question was rhetorical, because there is no better way. This YouTube channel appears to have been created to help find homes for these nine golden retriever puppies. The plan worked! All the pups have found good homes! Now we know they're safe and happy, and we can enjoy their playful puppy videos even more!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
A few weeks ago, the internet went nuts over this video of a rare Australian animal called an echidna being nursed by a zoo caretaker. Since most Americans don't know a ton about echidnas or their babies -- called puggles -- Ze Frank put together this handy guide to help us all with the basics.
Monday, December 10, 2012
A smooth fox terrier dog out for a hike with his owners almost didn't make it home alive when he found himself stuck in a very precarious situation. The dog, named Jonah by his owners, the Vargas family of Frisco, Colo., slipped away from his leash after a group of ducks on a pond caught his eye while the family was walking home from a hike in nearby Breckenridge over Thanksgiving weekend, according to authorities.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Like humans, many animal parents look after their offspring with tender care, giving them hugs and keeping a close eye on their little ones. Animal babies are pretty cute on their own, but it turns out they are even more adorable when photographed with their family.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
An Oregon zoo says it will retain possession of the country's newest baby elephant, a 300-pound female that hasn't yet been named, even though it won't own the animal. A breeding contract gives ownership of the calf born Friday in Portland to a California for-profit elephant rental company, Have Trunk Will Travel. But the zoo said the elephant will live out her life within its walls.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
President Obama may not have won many Southeastern states in his recent re-election, but he did make waves across the Republican-leaning region. And thanks to two scientists from Georgia and Missouri, his Southern profile is still growing — although some of his flashiest new acolytes don't have a clue who he is.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Some people are just ridiculously lucky -- particularly, people who don't need pillows because they have animals to lay their heads on. Like, can you think of anyone luckier than this baby surrounded by three pug-pillows?
Saturday, December 1, 2012
For the first time, scientists have figured out how to determine the age of a lobster – by counting its rings, like a tree. Nobody knows how old lobsters can live to be; some people estimate they live to more than 100.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
You might be surprised to learn that the shark with the strongest bite is not the great white, the tiger shark or even the great hammerhead. Rather, it's the more modestly-sized bull shark, according to BBC Nature.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
A baby panda gets quite a fright and it's caught on camera. In the footage, an adorable baby red panda in Japan throws up her paws and falls on her back after a zookeeper surprises her. The video was posted on YouTube and has been viewed more than 460,000 times in just five days.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Naming your new cat is a difficult and important decision — after all, he'll have to live with that moniker for the rest of his life, and so will you. But naming a kitten can also be tons of fun! We culled our records and came up with the a current list of the 10 most popular cat names.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Pity the poor opossum. The oft-maligned marsupial definitely suffers from an image problem — it is frequently perceived more as a giant, dirty, scavenging rat rather than a cute creature of the wild. But whether you love them or hate them, North America’s only marsupial has a set of unique characteristics that might transform aversion into affection. But first, the burning question: is it opossum or possum?
This win is one for the history books. For the second year in a row, a Wire Fox Terrier won the coveted Best in Show title at the National Dog Show presented by Purina. The same breed hasn’t won two years in row in a major competition since an English Springer Spaniel won Westminster in 1971 and 1972.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
One of the best things about attending a benched dog show like the National Dog Show presented by Purina is that you get to meet lots of pooches that you don’t usually see walking around the neighborhood or playing at the local dog park.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
What's a Dog for? There are a thousand answers to the question that is the title of my new book. This is because being human means needing help, of many different kinds, and sometimes there's not another to provide it. To start with, loneliness is not only an emotion--it's terrible for the health.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Shoppers in Iowa got an unusual glimpse of wildlife Monday morning when a doe and two fawns wandered into a department store. Coralville Police Chief Barry Bedford says the deer used doors that open automatically to get into a Kohl's store. He says the fawns stayed in the store's vestibule, but their mother made it into the store and headed toward the back.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Researchers say a pair of monogamous Magellanic penguins have been together for 16 years, making the lovebirds among the most faithful in the animal kingdom. According to the Telegraph, the penguins have shared a faithful partnership for almost their "entire breeding life," despite "spending long periods apart and each of them taking solo trips totaling 200,000 miles."
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Remember when things were fun? If you don't, just watch this baby elephant playing with a rope on the beach and try to make your life a little more like this today.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
America, meet Ruger and Rogue, two Australian cattle dogs who love to push each other around in a child's car. They made their TV debut on "Late Show with David Letterman" during a Stupid Pet Tricks segment on Tuesday night. With some prodding from Linda Wright, they finally show off the best method of dog transportation we've ever seen.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Veteran's Day is November 11, and in honor of our men and women in uniform we've rounded up our all-time favorite videos of soldiers being welcomed home by their canine counterparts. Nothing says, "Welcome back," like a wagging tail and a slobbery kiss.
Monday, November 12, 2012
When 2-year-old Dante Berry wandered out of his home and into the Australian bush he was lucky to have his faithful dog, Dasher, at his side to survive the long, rainy night. According to Yahoo News, Berry left his front yard in Mildura, Australia, on Tuesday around 8:30 p.m. with his German Shepherd at his side.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
A new carnivore shaped like a candelabra has been spotted in deep ocean waters off California's Monterey Bay. The meat-eating species was dubbed the "harp sponge," so-called because its structure resembles a harp or lyre turned on its side. A team from the Monterey Bay Research Aquarium Institute in Moss Landing, Calif., discovered the sponge in 2000 while exploring with a remotely operated vehicle. The sponges live nearly 2 miles (3.5 kilometers) beneath the ocean's surface.
Friday, November 9, 2012
We present your cuteness ration for the rest of the year. The Chengdu Panda Base in China recently released the most adorable photograph of baby pandas ever. According to CNN, the seven new panda cubs were born in the Sichuan-based breeding center between July and September 2012.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
In 1987, a mutant kitten was born in Montana with hair like a poodle. Named Miss DePesto, this kitten grew up and birthed curly kittens of her own. As the curly cat family tree grew, Miss DePesto's descendants eventually became recognized as a new breed: the Selkirk Rex.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Whether you peel them off slowly or just rip them away, one thing is certain about bandages: they hurt like heck when they come off. But beyond the hurt, sticky bandages are actually a pretty big medical problem. More than 1.5 million people suffer injuries every year when bandages are removed — primarily newborns and the elderly, whose skin is more sensitive and easily damaged. Injuries in these cases can vary from temporary skin irritation to permanent scarring.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Russian cat Sonya took in four orphaned baby hedgehogs and is raising them alongside her own kitten. The sound you just heard was your heart breaking into millions of tiny pieces.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Is Shishi-Maru a future Instagram megastar? The painfully cute Scottish fold already has more than 6,000 followers on the photo sharing app, and with his penchant for nom-worthy facial expressions and adorable poses, he sure looks poised for Internet domination.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
As Hurricane Sandy threatens the East Coast, don't forget about your pets when preparing for the storm. Below is a review of some top pet preparation tips to ensure their safety if Hurricane Sandy and other looming storms reach your region.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
When an emperor penguin swims through the water, it is slowed by the friction between its body and the water, keeping its maximum speed somewhere between four and nine feet a second. But in short bursts the penguin can double or even triple its speed by releasing air from its feathers in the form of tiny bubbles. These reduce the density and viscosity of the water around the penguin’s body, cutting drag and enabling the bird to reach speeds that would otherwise be impossible.
Friday, October 26, 2012
It is no secret that we're big animal lovers in these parts -- and that's perhaps never more true than the Halloween season. Last year, we asked our readers to submit photos of their furry friends decked out in their best costumes for the season. We were so impressed by the many submissions, that we're doing it again this year!
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Blue iguanas on Grand Cayman island are no longer considered a critically endangered species. A decade ago, there were just 10 to 25 blue iguanas living in the wild and they were listed as critically endangered. But now that the wild population has risen to 750, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has downlisted the species from critically endangered to endangered. It's a major victory for a breeding program that rears and releases blue iguanas on Grand Cayman, the only place in the world where the turquoise-colored reptiles live in the wild.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Three tiny flaming orange monkeys crouched on a tree branch, cocking their heads as if to better hear the high-pitched whistles and yaps that came from deep within the dense green foliage. Then they answered in kind, rending the morning with their sharp calls and cautiously greeting each other in the forest. That the cries of Brazil's endangered golden lion tamarins should fill the air at all on a recent afternoon was cause for celebration, the result of one of the world's most inspired species restoration efforts. In fact, that campaign has transformed the lush forest where the monkeys live and has become a model widely cited for saving other animals.
Friday, October 19, 2012
As the obesity rate soars among Americans, their dogs are getting potbellied, too, encouraging fitness companies to come up with a range of equipment and classes to get pampered pets back into shape. From canine-tailored treadmills, to puppy pedometers and group fitness classes, there's no shortage of tools to trim and tone the sagging paunches of pooches. As part of his fitness routine, Rocky, a rotund dachshund, traipses a mini-treadmill designed for small dogs.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Who knows what pets do when we're away at work or school, but one thing is for sure: when you're home, they're watching you. They see everything. If pets could talk, they'd probably just discuss the weird things we do when no one's watching (luckily, they can only tweet so far). Still, it's pretty funny when you catch them in the act.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
With all the bizarre and crazy creatures humans have invented, it's easy to forget that for every unicorn there is a bizarre creature that actually exists. Evolution and niche specialization can create some crazy-looking forms of life. Here are six strange examples.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Here's a whole new reason to play fetch with Fido. With Tagg - The Pet Tracker, the activity tracker for dogs, you can view how much activity your pet has had in the past 24 hours and determine if he needs more or fewer walks. And just like advanced activity trackers for humans, this one can differentiate between various activities -- in this case, catching a Frisbee, rolling over or playing fetch.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
It's time to fawn over a new addition to the Detroit Zoo family. Born Sept. 7, this darling deer weighed only two pounds, according to Zoo staff -- that's small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Meet "Hamil Girl," the fourth Chilean pudu born in the Motor City since the species was introduced to Michigan's biggest zoo in 2008.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Puppy, Kitten Think They Are ‘Sisters’: Buttons The Jack Russell, Kitty The Cat Bond At Rescue Center
Whoever said cats and dogs are sworn enemies have clearly never seen this adorable duo. Photo agency SWNS writes that “these heartwarming pictures show an abandoned puppy and a rescued kitten that are so close they think they are sisters.”
Thursday, October 11, 2012
A 234-pound baby walrus is coming to town! According to the Associated Press, an orphaned 15-week-old walrus named Mitik, who was rescued from the ocean off Alaska earlier this year, will arrive in the city this Thursday, where he'll be making a new home at the New York Aquarium.